Jane Austen was a lively, headstrong and determined girl who lived a very full and exciting youth. In her thirties, she published four wonderful novels, but never disclosed her name. After she died, in 1817, her family destroyed most of her letters, and steadfastly refused to discuss her life. Her niece Caroline Austen wrote, a memoir of Miss Jane Austen has often been asked for, and strangers…have wondered that the family should have refused to supply the necessary materials.
Fifty-two years after her death, her nephew, Rev. James Edward Austen-Leigh, responded to growing public interest with a Memoir of Jane Austen. He said very little about her youth, and he admitted the family had suppressed her early stories, describing them as, ridiculing the improbable events and exaggerated sentiments which she had met with in sundry silly romances. He stated that Jane’s life was, singularly barren: few changes and no great crisis ever broke the smooth current of its course; and declared he had no definite tale of love to relate.
Most, if not all of Jane Austen’s readers simply didn’t believe him. Virginia Woolf wrote, I prefer to present her, not in the modest pose which her family determined for her, but rather, as she most frequently presented herself, as rebellious, satirical and wild.
Over time, the Austens’ secrecy was reinforced by D’Arcy’s silence. A tall, handsome young Irish surgeon, he had left England for New South Wales, on the other side of the world.
The day before he sailed, Jane’s brother Henry, reflected his family’s sentiments, applauding the world for getting rid of its superfluous inhabitants, all those who have too much cunning or too little money, shipped off with the very first cargo of Convicts to Botany Bay.
Despite time and distance, D’Arcy remained the fixed star in Jane’s firmament.
After more than two hundred years, Jane & D’Arcy reveals the story of the enduring love of Jane Austen and D’Arcy Wentworth, the real Mr Darcy.
Folly is Not Always Folly and Such Talent & Such Success, the two volumes of Jane & D’Arcy, tell the long hidden story of their romance and adventures, that will move and delight Jane Austen’s readers, and revitalise Austen scholarship.
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